Posted by: tomciocco | October 1, 2012

A WINE FROM A RIVERSIDE IN NORTHERN PIEDMONT

Wedged between the small pre-Alpine city of Biella, and the tiny and anciently prized but now usually overlooked wine region of Lessona, sits the Costa della Sesia D.O.C. This is a shockingly beautiful part of an already very beautiful country, and where properly encouraged, the area’s wines perfectly reflect this beauty.

The name “Costa della Sesia” literally means the “coast” (forgive them – the Mediterranean is not very close at all, Italian address or not) of the Sesia (river), and indeed the said river does gird this green and rocky region. But unlike the “big” appellations from The Langhe – Barolo and Barbaresco – that are made from 100% of the noble Nebbiolo, in Costa della Sesia, as well as in the neighboring Lessona, Boca, and Bramaterra D.O.C.s, Nebbiolo shares the stage with other varieties like Uva Rara, Croatina, Barbera, and Bonarda Piemontese. These higher altitude wines, farmed on exceptionally poor soils (having very little organic matter – it’s good thing for viticulture, actually) are more ethereal, less potent and intense than the 100% Nebbiolo wines from The Langhe’s warmer climes and somewhat richer earth.

So after all this talk about this area’s reds, I’m now forced to tell you that this evening’s bottle was clear, and the wine inside, pink(ish). The extra “legs” on which these regions stand in terms of their myriad of vine varieties (something of an economic issue), and its intense sunshine allow them to make really fine rose`. This particular one is a blend of Nebbiolo, Vespolina, and Croatina, and it shows almost as well as the reds why people need to pay more attention all of the wines from this lovely but obscure fold of the Piedmont region.

The menu I put together with this very suave and detailed wine consisted of green beans cooked with garlic, tomato paste, and white wine. The main course was the classic Piedmontese egg Uova al Cirighet – fried eggs with a piquant sauce of anchovies, capers, herbs, lemon, garlic, oil and vinegar. I made some denser polenta that I grilled crisp and browned on a grill-pan with butter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proprieta` Sperino Costa della Sesia Rosato “Rosa del Rosa” 2011

“Smoked salmon” color. Very fine and clear nose of toasted almond, wild strawberries, pine, fresh herbs, dried flowers and orange peel. In the mouth the wine is immediately very complex, with a spunky, nervous acidity, with a concentrated and quite rich core framed by a firm, minerally and elegant structure in which flow fresh and ethereal flavors of maraschino cherry, prune plum jelly, blood orange juice, chocolate taffy, and subtle, sweet Asian spice mix. Quite intense and long finish of fresh mint, and blackberry. A very sophisticated rose`indeed.

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